Union learning reps (ULRs) are volunteers who are willing to encourage and support other colleagues with learning in the workplace. Any UNISON member who is interested in learning and enjoys helping people can become a ULR – you don’t need to be involved in the branch already.
ULRs help their colleagues identify the skills they need to move on, and help them sort out things like time off to train, loans, grants and funding, or any additional support they might need.
Many ULRs have themselves discovered the joys of learning through a UNISON course such as Return to Learn, and want to help others follow in their footsteps.
Their duties might include:
- raising awareness of lifelong learning issues in the workplace
- offering support and encouragement to learners
- encouraging learners to get involved in the branch
- working with the branch to promote workplace learning with employers
ULRs are closely involved with other branch reps. Learning is a great way of encouraging members to get involved in the branch and to recruit members to UNISON as well.
ULRs have a statutory right to reasonable time off to undertake their role – which also covers their own time to train.
I took the opportunity to become re-accredited as a ULR and steward because I thought it was time to do something after the Trust where I used to work was split and we were TUPE-transferred to the Whittington Hospital.
We started with a health promotion event, when we ran a taster session for Staying Strong, the UNISON stress management workshop, and we followed that up with the full workshop for two dozen staff, which received good feedback.
We promote the full range of learning available through UNISON, our local provider, and online.
Photograph © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk